sexual abuse

All posts tagged sexual abuse

Published December 13, 2017 by Chloe Madison

Fuuuuu…. I am so infuriated and I don’t even know why. I just left my two doctor appointments. This last guy said I rated as severe for depression, but “moderately severe.” He even suggested I get into group counseling that could meet for up to 3 times a week, if I felt I needed that support. I don’t. I’m fine. I’m shocked that I rated so severely. Am I not seeing this? On top of that, all the questions I answered were for the last 2 weeks only!! And I’ve felt a tiny bit better these last few weeks- I mean, I actually had a good day here and there. So if I’m “moderately severe” now, what the hell was I before? Severely severe?

That depresses me so much. It makes me mad. Why though? This is probably the first time since I’ve been out that I actually wanted to hurt myself. I just feel so much rage and strong….gah….I don’t even know!

Speaking of hurting myself, with talking with this guy and why/ how I got hospitalized…I WILL NEVER, EVER say on this blog that I want to die or kill myself ever again. It’s not worth getting locked up for. Just because I don’t say it, doesn’t mean I’m not thinking it. But I refuse to go through that again. I don’t have the freedom to say what I want…but hey, welcome to America. Land of the free. Unless you’ve been raped. Then you’re not free. You’re not free to express yourself. You’re not free of your fears. You’re not free of anything this shitty life has in store for you.

I can’t believe I’m worse off than I think. I just don’t believe that. Am I that blind?

The med management doctor is increasing my dosage. Doubling it. Not because of me though…he says that almost no one experiences the benefits of Zoloft on 50mg. (Then why do they even make a 25mg?) But he said it’s only 1 of 2 medications proven to treat PTSD. The other med, he said, he doesn’t prescribe because the side effects are crazy bad. He was much nicer than the second doc. He made me feel bad about 2 things though. One was my hope (<— f*** that word) in the medicine. He said for someone like me, dealing with huge and multiple traumas, that meds are only 10% of the equation. The rest needs to come from therapy. 😞 I had wished the meds would help more than just 10%. The other thing was my problem regulating my body temp and not having my period for 2 months now. I thought (and still think) I was so distressed when I was locked up, that I skipped it then and it’s listed as a side effect…so I thought maybe that’s why I still don’t have it. He suggested I might have early menopause!! What the..?? No, don’t tell me that. Don’t crush my dreams of ever having children!! Are you freaking kidding me?? No. No. No.

Everyone says “wait” on God. Wait for a husband. Wait for children and a family. God will give you the desires of your heart.

F that. He doesn’t. This is proof.

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Published December 9, 2017 by Chloe Madison

Overall, this week has been really hard. It’s felt like a YEAR.

Sleep has been sporadic. There haven’t been many nightmares but there were two recent ones- one is far too graphic to share. It related to previous trauma. It was disgusting. Not going to talk about it. There was another one from last night that had demons in it. They made their presence known- they kept taking my phone out of my hands as I used it- that happened a few times. I also saw them coming through walls in a bathroom. In my dream, I was vacationing with a family and their little boy was trying to tell the family that demons were causing things to happen and everyone ignored him. This was all a dream, but it’s still disturbing.

Today a 15 year old girl repeated MY words to me- she was telling me how she wanted to commit suicide and she said, “I don’t know why God doesn’t just take me.” My heart went up through my throat. I couldn’t believe I was hearing this, coming from her. It hit me so hard- both of our pain. Her story is similar to mine. She was raped repeatedly by an uncle and her mom hasn’t been the best source of support. In frustration, her mom even told her she would give her up for adoption. I told her I’d happily adopt her. Seriously. I know her mom wouldn’t really do that, but it’s so cruel and damaging to say. I see over and over how people don’t understand and don’t have patience with those of us who have been gravely injured and are struggling. I know it must be frustrating…but all I see is people giving up on us. I know I want to give up on myself…so what can I possibly do to make others not want to give up on me?

She also talked about how God has given her too much to handle in life. Again, I nearly choked as she was saying my own words to me. I couldn’t agree with her more, but I HAD to give her every ounce of positivity I could muster.

I did my best to encourage this young girl and show her how much I care for her. I’ve only known her for four months, but she knows she has my support and undivided attention whenever she needs it. I wish I could do more for her.

I think about the words she said that are mine. I’ve written those very words here so many times. I’ve thought them even more times…. I wonder what God might be trying to show me by having this young girl say that to me. My heart hurts so badly for her.

I finally heard back from my old pastor whom I’d emailed. I told him how I was scared of being judged for having been locked up and his reply was amazing. Here’s part of his email:

That last paragraph… wow. It means a lot to me. When he didn’t reply right away, I was sure he thought I was crazy and didn’t want to have anything to do with me. I was so worried. So it’s really good to hear from him and to know I have his encouragement.

I feel like I’m wringing every single bit of support from people. It’s such a necessity to my survival. Even though I’ve asked for it from a few people, I’m scared to. I fear rejection and people backing away from me. I feel like that’s the response I’ve received from the few people I’ve asked. But I need help so badly. Just to feel loved, cared about, to be encouraged… I can’t do that on my own. It doesn’t work that way.

Another good thing happened. Two young people started a gofundme for my hospital bills left over after the insurance paid. They didn’t tell me about it right away. I was so touched they would even think to do that. They posted it on Facebook and tagged me in it so now a lot of people know I was in the hospital. I’ve been fielding questions all day long. I’m absolutely not telling people why I was hospitalized. But now people know I was in the hospital for something. So I finally made a post about it, giving a vague explanation for the gofundme.

This WordPress is anonymous…I’m not using my real name here. I’d like to keep it that way. It makes me feel safer. But if any of you want to help share the gofundme campaign, let me know and I can send you the link.

And then one more thing happened…I don’t think I wrote about it yet. I can’t remember. A friend introduced me to a friend of his who prays over people for healing and stuff. I kind of wanted to meet up with him in person, but he lives in Europe. We emailed a few times and talked once via Skype this past summer. He told me to get a book named The Bondage Breaker, to read through it, pray through it, and we could talk again after that. I had every intention of ordering the book, but never did. That was months ago during the summer.

Well, a lady from my small group at church told me she read a book and thought of six people who might need it. I was one of them, so she whipped out this book and gave it to me. Guess what the name of it was…? Yep.

Unreal.

I couldn’t believe it was the same exact book I was told would help me months ago. I even dug up old emails to be sure it was the same book. Eerie. I’ve tried reading it and can’t. I’ve flipped though it…stopped on a page that said:

And I immediately thought and said, “LIES!!” and I closed the book and put it down. I guess I’m not quite ready to look at it yet. 😞 I feel bad about my reaction, but I just can’t believe any of those things there. Not yet. Maybe some day.

Published December 5, 2017 by Chloe Madison

I don’t know what’s wrong with me. I’m so sad. I took an online health questionnaire at work and was slightly paranoid it might not be anonymous like it said. So I answered the questions about mood and depression to make it NOT sound as bad as I feel. And I STILL got flagged as depressed. What the…? Am I doing that badly that I can’t even see it?

Some of the information given following the questionnaire said that depression can affect your judgment. Is that really true? I’ve never heard of that before. But as I reflect on decisions and thoughts and how I perceive things…I just didn’t think depression would impact those things, but maybe it has. I honestly thought it was the other way around- that I was depressed because of my thoughts and perceptions of the world and people around me. I didn’t think depression could alter that. Maybe I have a lot to learn.

I’m so sorry for my angry posts lately. I’ve been highly irritable for over a year now- since this all started to go downhill. Seeing how much my insurance paid and what I still owe sent me over the edge in terms of rage. I’m still super upset that I have to pay $9000 for something I refused over and over and over. All I wanted to do was go home. And they wouldn’t let me.

I don’t want to think about the money situation anymore. I don’t know what to do with that. I’ve cut out cable TV and eating out. What else can I cut out?? There’s nothing in my budget but my credit card payment, rent, electric, cell, student loan, insurance, gas, and car payment. My dog’s meds are so much…I just picked up more of his meds yesterday. He’s been throwing them up though. 😞 I don’t know how else to help him except to do what the doctor says and give him extra pain meds when his pain won’t subside. My heart hurts so badly for him. He’s my only companion in this lonely, cold world. My only companion.

I had already bought a plane ticket to see my mom at Christmas and now I think it’s a mistake (financially). It’s on my credit card…obviously I couldn’t afford to pay for it outright. But I view Christmas break the same as Thanksgiving break. If I stay here, alone, for two weeks…no work, no friends, nothing to do…bad things will happen. My mind just goes there. It goes there every single day. The best way I can think of to fight it is to go away from here and be with other people. Sounds good. Just not very affordable. But I’m doing the best I can even if I can’t afford it.

I even reached out to my old pastor yesterday. I had reached out to him a few months back. But yesterday I sent him an email letting him know I got locked up. I’m so scared of being judged or looked down on because of it. It took degradation and shame to a whole new level for me. I’m super embarrassed about it and don’t want ANYONE to know. Too many already do. But I decided to be honest and tell him, hoping to get some encouragement and support. I haven’t heard back yet.

Me reaching out to people is so, so difficult. I think I’m terrified of rejection. And if you give people nothing to reject you for, then they won’t. If you’re honest and open and vulnerable, people will see your weakness and your troubles. You’re giving them ammunition to judge you with. But it is what it is. If I want support from people, I have to let them know that. Even if I get rejected…like when I asked my friends to visit me in the hospital and they refused. It was shocking and heart breaking. But the truth is that I’m not so sure I want people like that around me. I don’t need any more negativity. I don’t need any more criticism and rejection- I feel I do that to myself enough. I need good people, true friends, people who won’t judge me even knowing I’ve been locked up. I just think that’s so hard to find. That’s why I’m so scared and hesitant to reach out.

I’m trying though. I feel like going away at Christmas is the best course of action. I thought reaching out to my old pastor again is a good step to take. I’m not sure quitting therapy is the best idea- but financially, I’ve got no other choice. I have to start making payments and I don’t know where else that money can come from. Can you make a payment on a medical bill with a credit card? Again…not the best idea…but if I have no other choice, then that will be the route I might need to take.

I need to get away from this debilitating sadness. It’s eating me up.

Published November 28, 2017 by Chloe Madison

Overall, today was a good day. It was good to get back to work and see everyone. People told me they missed me over Thanksgiving break and that was a nice surprise to hear. Plus, I REALLY don’t do well when I have too much free time to let my brain wander and stew on my issues. So it’s good to get back to work and feel productive.

I woke up last night at 2am with a migraine. Stupid hospital bills stressing me out. I got another one today- another $6,000 something for the 5 days. I’m suspicious though that there might be more- how can 8 hours in the ER cost three times more than 5 days and nights in a hospital? Is that normal? Anyway, I’m worried there might be some more charges coming. I got additional charges for the ER doctor…and there weren’t any charges yet for the hospital doctors for the 5 days…(YIKES!!!) I’m worried that will be coming soon… 😨

I just keep repeating to myself, “don’t freak out!”

“Don’t freak out!”

“Don’t freak out!”

Gah….😓 I cannot handle this. I cannot handle any more strain on my life. I kept saying to myself over and over again today, “my life is not worth $16,000!!!”

And it’s not. It’s so true. 😦

Alright…what I’m thankful for: I’m thankful for having a good, albeit headache-filled day at work. I’m thankful for better dreams these last few days- I literally dreamed of puppies and ice cream and donuts! 😂 I kid you not! The puppies were drowning…but in my dream, we saved them all and got them all adopted. So it all worked out well. No nightmares last night either… but I was awake at 2am and couldn’t go back to sleep (even with sleeping pills). Hopefully, that won’t happen tonight.

I’m also thankful for something else. I thought a lot about my uncle yesterday and I meant to write that I was thankful for this yesterday, but I got side tracked when I got the hospital bills. I was thinking how he told people that my dad sexually abused him and no one believed him. Knowing that my grandma knew about my abuse and conspired to cover it up…I believe that she believed my uncle, but maybe acted like she didn’t in order to keep it all quiet and protect my dad. But, everyone else that he told… no one believed him. That makes me so sad. I was thinking about that and I realized that I haven’t had that issue. Yes, my mom and grandma knew all along and did nothing to help me or protect me…but I never told them. I never told anyone until I was 18 years old. That’s the first time I had the courage to say a word. I never had the experience of someone not believing me. And that’s what I’m thankful for. I can’t imagine how much more damaging this could be if I was told I wasn’t believed. It made me see that my uncle had more damage done by not having support when he sought it out. That’s so messed up. I’m so grateful that the very few people I’ve shared with have had my back….(minus my two friends who jumped ship recently).

When I think about suicide, I find myself rationalizing that I share the same fate as my uncle. I told myself that over and over. He didn’t survive what my dad did, why would I? He committed suicide, it must be my fate as well. Am I stronger than he is? No way! So why do I think I’d survive when he didn’t? He lived for decades and decades and STILL wound up succumbing to his psychological injuries. My dad will ultimately be responsible for two deaths…and for wrecking who knows how many lives!

…This is what I told myself and this is how I thought. And yesterday when I was thinking about no one believing my uncle, I thought that he must have had it harder. It’s must have been so much more difficult for him because people didn’t believe him. He saw my dad all the time and knew my dad got away with disgusting, evil acts. And HIS OWNMOTHER covered it up. I mean…mine did too. But still…

My fear of not being believed only manifested in one instance and that was with Joe. He had always physically, intellectually, and psychologically intimidated me. Before the rape occurred, he had already been physically violent with both myself and my little dog. So I had already been staying away from him. We were no longer friends because he broke the septum in my nose when he slammed my head against a wall. I had been tapping on something and it had annoyed him. That was the last time I ever talked to him. I was scared and stayed away after that. And months later, the rape occurred. And now…he’s an attorney. Geez…I feel even more intimidated by his occupation. There’s no way I could accuse him without massive fear and anxiety regarding retaliation on his part. I’m almost certain of it. So I see how a fear of not being believed can affect you. I can’t imagine how much that affected my uncle when he tried to confide in people.

I’m trying really, really hard. Things aren’t going well. I’m more deeply depressed than before…but I don’t know if that’s because of the meds or my nice little stay in the hospital that’s giving me a complex. I feel so ashamed of it. My one friend who visited me (and who drove two hours to do so) told me the other day that the hospitalization “doesn’t define you.” I really needed to hear that. I don’t know how she read my thoughts…I’ve been so down on myself for getting hospitalized and feeling like if people find out, they’ll think I’m a looney. It makes me so much more scared to share with anyone. I don’t blame people- I think they’d subconsciously judge me or hold it against me. Anyway, I need to internalize that idea- that this hospitalization doesn’t define me. God does, right?

That’s all I need- another identity crisis.

Published November 24, 2017 by Chloe Madison

I’m so thankful for this. ⬆️ It makes me feel better to think that I’m not “ill.” But it does mention the breaking down of relationships and crushing connections. 😓 I can attest to that. I also think that depression has added more to my isolation and withdrawing from people. The trust part- that’s from PTSD though. I’m trying to understand PTSD more. So much more is known about it now than when I had it before. I never knew my urge to cut was from a build up of adrenaline from a fight or flight response that had been triggered. I’m still kind of in awe of that. I had always felt so ashamed and immature that I had that urge. I didn’t know it was “scientifically based,” as the psychiatrist put it. I went back to every time I was leaning in that direction and tried to remember what path my thoughts went down so I could identify how the fight or flight response had been triggered. I did some research and found out that the stress hormone, cortisol, also triggers a fight or flight response. In one book, it says that this could lead to a suicide attempt as you’re protecting yourself from ever being harmed again. For me, I’m not quite sure why I think of suicide so often. I’ve thought of spiritual warfare combined with plain old depression and stress. I do only think of taking action when I’m beyond stressed and feel like I’m about to burst. (That feeling is what the psychiatrist said was adrenaline.)

This is so complex and complicated and I know I don’t understand all of it. To make matters worse, what I’ll come to an understanding of today, I’ll forget by tomorrow. No joke. 😒

Anyway, I’m trying so hard to be more understanding of myself. That might sound silly, but I’m incredibly hard on myself- very critical of myself. I think that internal dialogue is from my mom. But regardless, I’m trying to give myself some slack when it comes to what I’m thinking and feeling and the resulting behaviors. First and foremost, I’m on a mission to stop hurting other people…even if it’s just hurting them by lying. It’s not right and never will be. Second, I’m trying to get better for myself. So I’m trying to understand what I’ve been diagnosed with and how it’s affecting everything. When I googled how PTSD affects friendships and relationships, I was shocked. I couldn’t believe how much damage it does…and it made me realize that a lot of what I’ve done recently is from PTSD. It doesn’t make it right, but at least I can identify why I did those things. If I can identify my motivation, I can then learn to stop. I just don’t want to ever hurt anyone. Ever. That’s not who I am.

Half of me tells myself I’m NOTHING like my father. Half of me berates myself with every bad thing I’ve ever done, saying I’m cut from the same cloth. I’m trying so hard to believe and to know in my heart that I’m a child of God. I feel like there’s a wall there though. I can’t break past it. I just can’t believe that God truly, truly loves me. I just don’t see myself as a child of God. I don’t know why. I don’t know what the problem is. I don’t know how to change that.

I’m trying really hard to believe this too. ⬆️ I don’t believe it yet. I know all too well that what I’m dealing with is too much for normal people. I know that I’ve shared with people, then they’ve chosen to walk out on me. But that’s their prerogative.

I saw this online ⬆️ That is exactly what I think!!! And unfortunately, a few friends already proved to me that this is true. 😓 It makes me all the more grateful for those who have stepped up and helped me and who have done SO MUCH to ensure my survival even against my own wishes. I thank God for them.

Published November 21, 2017 by Chloe Madison

Spent the last few days doing a lot, a lot of thinking. Yes, being self-absorbed still…but I have to figure out what’s going on with me so I can stop being a jerk. I don’t know why I’m lashing out, being so impatient, so demanding, so immature…why I have so much anger boiling over.

I finally googled how PTSD affects friendships and relationships. Oph. There it was. “PTSD can cause problems with trust, closeness, communication, and problem solving.” I read on and on. A lot of stuff pertained to me, a lot of stuff didn’t. Either way, I don’t want to use PTSD as an excuse to be a jerk to anyone. That’s not fair. But it did help me understand why I can’t trust even the most benign people in my life. In my head, logically, I know these people are safe…but emotionally and psychologically, I can’t bring myself to trust them. And now it’s even worse. And my anger…God knows…I feel like I have anger from everything- my past, my present, my parents, my former friends…just everything and everyone. But I’m trying to learn here…I’m trying to become a better person…so I refuse to sit back and blame anyone. What’s done is done…my anger will fade. I just have to be mature about it and make sure I don’t hurt myself or anyone else in the mean time. I feel like God will heal me. I know He can….I just wonder sometimes. I wonder if it’s meant to be or not.

And I always wonder whether I’m meant to be. I surely don’t think so. I’m trying my best to shove those thoughts out of my head though.

I’ve thought a lot about Kyle. I found out his mom had called the police, saying he was in fact about to commit suicide, he was on drugs, and he was schizophrenic. I went back and reread some of his Facebook posts. I can’t make heads or tails out of them.

I thought of the person I knew so many years ago. He was kind and generous and had an affinity for the poor and for animals. My kind of person. His friends and I have decided we will remember him the way we knew him, as a kind, gentle soul.

I feel terrible for his family, for his mom…and it’s given me a renewed view of suicide from the other side. It’s been a long time since someone I know committed suicide. I had one really good friend and my uncle commit suicide. I thought of Agron and of my uncle. And I thought of all the death lately. I feel like I’ve been surrounded by it, drowning in it. The man who committed suicide in my building, Jason who died on the trail, my aunt and my cousin who died earlier this year from cancer. I still see Jason’s face all the time- both alive and dead. And I’ve been watching that empty apartment where my neighbor committed suicide. They kept it empty for quite a while and now it’s newly rented. I would stand outside while walking my dog and think of the guy, dying in there alone, with fentanyl patches all over. I feel for him. I understand. And yet I know I really can’t say I do.

I’m still so mad at God too. This has been a topic of conversation in my therapy sessions. Why would God allow child abuse? Why would he allow little children to be sexually abused? Why would he allow parents and grandparents to cover up abuse and protect the abuser? Why would he allow us…his people…to hurt so deeply? And for so long? Does he really love us? Really?? It’s difficult for me to reconcile a loving, fatherly God with one who allows such things. Why did God think I could handle a death on the trail? Why did he think I could handle staying with the body for half a day? Why did he think I could handle getting locked up? Why did he think that could help more than hurt?? Why did he make friends give up on me and jump ship? Why is he making me hurt so deeply?

I don’t know any of the answers to these questions. In my head…intellectually, I know God loves me. At least, I think I do. But in my heart, emotionally, it’s nearly impossible for me to believe.

I’m not tying to be a jerk and hold things against God… but I’ve got to wrestle with him over the state of things and his love. Because it doesn’t add up.

Wow…I thought I barely had anything to say for this post.

I wanted to write what I’m thankful for. Every day, all throughout the day, I’m trying to find things to be genuinely thankful for. A lot of what I’m finding now has to do with what I couldn’t experience when I was locked up.

So last night I spent a lot of time gazing up at the stars. I was looking at Saturn and Mercury and dreaming of how Mars still beckons me. God, I would love to go there. The night sky was so beautiful. I told God how his creativity never ceases to amaze me and how thankful I was for his incredible universe.

I’ve been enjoying the last little bit of fall leaves here. There are a few orange ones here that put me in awe. I went walking in the woods today and absorbed every sensation- the chilly air nipping at my nose and ears, the crunching of the leaves beneath my feet, the silence of the forest, and the deer scattering as I approached.

And yet my heart returns and hurts for Kyle. I’m so sorry I wasn’t there for him. I’m sorry that I didn’t say something more or do something or reach out in some way. I had no idea he was even remotely contemplating suicide. I really should have known. I’ll carry this too.

EMDR

Published August 18, 2017 by Chloe Madison

I feel so weird. Extraordinarily detached. I’m not feeling a thing. My thoughts seem to float. Detached. No connection. The perfect time Too easy.

Shame is what we focused on- being ashamed of who my father is…that I’m so closely related to a sexual predator, a criminal.

I saw myself walking on the sidewalk next to the building where I work. This massive black tar-like substance began slowing oozing down from the entire building. It was one giant encompassing entity. I think it was shame. It suddenly changed from slow moving to a quickly engulfing tidal wave that swept me up into a whirlpool. A deep black whirlpool. I was caught up in the enormous swirling blackness. Then I noticed the sky turning white. It was a stark contrast to the blackness of the giant whirlpool. I thought maybe the white sky might be God. I saw a red rose floating around in a downward trajectory. I want to die so I laid back in the black whirlpool and floated on my back- giving up, wanting to drown or be swallowed up by this. 

The rose drifted down and landed on my chest. I was distracted by it- I kept looking at it laying on my chest, but also kept laying my head back and floating, in an effort to give up. I realized the rose was sticking to my chest- like the tentacles of an octopus. I tried prying an edge of it off- one rose petal- and as soon as I let go, it would reattach itself. 

I remembered that the red rose had made an appearance before, but I can’t remember what I thought it represented. This time I kept getting the phrase, “Word of God” over and over and I kept picturing my new Bible. So perhaps the rose that’s attached itself to my chest represents the Word of God. As I realize that, I think it begins to embed itself in me. 

I notice the black whirlpool begins to swirl with a milky white liquid, mixing with the blackness. The white seems to overtake the black and soon the whirlpool is white with only traces of blackness through it. 

The spinning of the whirlpool begins to slow. I hadn’t noticed before, but the level of it had lowered. The next thing I know, I’m laying on the wet ground- soggy grass wet with a milky white substance. The waters of the whirlpool had so gently dissipated that I barely noticed it. 

I don’t want to get up- I’m curious to see what’s around me, but I feel lazy, maybe just exhausted- I don’t want to even lift my head. I feel like God is telling me to get up and go. But I don’t want to. It becomes clear that it’s ok for me to stay there for a while and as I do, the grass becomes less and less soggy as the milky liquid is absorbed into the ground. 

I can’t remember correctly. 

I think I sit up and begin to look around and I see nothing in all directions around me. I see a weird scene as short, sharp grass seems to be in blue ground. The word “wasteland” comes to mind. There’s  nothing out there in any direction. It’s a barren wasteland. As I stand up, the landscape turns more and more bleak. There’s still nothing but everything continues to dry up- like the desert of Mad Max and the Thunderdome. I look down as I feel something heavy and awkward on my feet. I see sandals on my feet- but super old school ones like Jesus would wear. I feel something in my hand but I can’t see it clearly. It feels like a heavy Bible or something- but an old leather covered one. The ground has now turned into a dry orange sand.

I can’t determine which way to go- which way God wants me to go. No matter where I turn, every direction looks the same. I think God needs to show me which way to go. I also think this is a long arduous journey- one that will take a while and that I clearly don’t have much to survive with. I see a vertical sliver of light off in the distance and think that must be the way to go. I slowly begin to move toward it. Again, I look down at my feet, the old sandals, and feel this big book-like thing cupped in my hand. I feel underequipped for what’s ahead. 

As I move forward, two big masses of blackness come from either side up in the sky. They develop and swirl like clouds- but they reach from the top of the sky to the ground and even cover parts of the ground. They’re ominous and threatening. I can still see a path to follow in the sand though. I can still look above the blackness and see the little sliver of light to follow. So I continue. 

Then…giant evil faces emerge from the blackness. On both sides, I see deep red eyes and huge, deep red grimaces. They’re laughing at me and threatening me. I hear the word “black” over and over rhythmically and as I do, I picture my wrist, a gun, my wrist, laying back floating in the ocean, Chicago, my wrist, ….

I can now see nothing but blackness. It’s grown to cover every inch of the ground. The path is obscured. Images of suicide are everywhere…surrounding and engulfing me.